Alyssa Charney.jpegAlyssa Charney, White House

Alyssa Charney now serves as the director for lands and climate-smart agriculture in the climate policy office at the White House. She most recently worked at the Department of Agriculture, where she was the chief of staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Manjit K. Misra has been selected to lead USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture as director. Misra is a professor at Iowa State University, where he has headed the university’s Seed Science Center for 30 years. He will start at NIFA on May 8.

Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the granddaughter of Latino labor activist Cesar Chavez, has been tapped to lead President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign. Rodriguez most recently served as a senior adviser to the president and was previously the director of intergovernmental affairs at the White House.

Adam Hodge, currently the assistant U.S. trade representative for media and public affairs, will be moving to the National Security Council on a detailed assignment as the acting senior director for press and spokesperson. He will replace Adrienne Watson while she is on maternity leave. The change will take place on May 1. Sam Michel, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Public Affairs, will step in for Hodge while he's away.

Ted Melnik, president and CEO of Valent BioSciences, has announced he will step down in July. He will be succeeded in the position by Salman Mir. Melnik joined Valent BioSciences in 2013 as chief operating officer and was promoted to his current position in 2022. Mir joined Valent BioSciences in 2012, and most recently serves as the executive vice president and chief operating officer.

The International Food Information Council has appointed Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak as the new CEO, effective May 1. Reinhardt Kapsak previously served the past five years as president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation.

The Renewable Fuels Association has hired Justin Schultz as the new director of environment, health, and safety. Before joining RFA, Schultz had worked for Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy since 2009. There, he managed regulatory, safety, and compliance issues for the Council Bluffs, Iowa, biorefinery.

The Farm Credit Administration has made three staff additions.

Zachary Lund is the new executive assistant to FCA board chairman and CEO Vincent Logan and Mike Stokke will be the new executive assistant to FCA Board Member Glen Smith. Lund joined FCA in 2013 and most recently served as a supervisory senior examiner in the Office of Examination’s Staff Development Division. Stokke joined FCA in 2008 as director of the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs. He succeeds Jim Morris, who retired last month.

Trevor Reuschel is the new director of FCA's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs. Reuschel joined FCA in January of this year as a senior adviser in the same office and succeeded Stokke in March.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has tapped Allison Colden as its new Maryland executive director. She replaces Josh Kurtz, who was appointed secretary of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources by Gov. Wes Moore in January. For the last two years, Colden has overseen CBF’s Maryland oyster restoration program. Before coming to CBF, she worked in the U.S. House as a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow and later as a senior manager of external affairs at Restore America’s Estuaries.

Wayne-Sanderson Farms, the nation’s third-largest poultry producer, has made new leadership changes after the retirement announcements by Bryan Miller and David Malfitano. Miller was the senior vice president of quality assurance and food safety. He is succeeded by Juan DeVillena, who has been with the company since 2004 and most recently served as the vice president for quality assurance and food safety for the company’s fresh and prepared foods business units. Miller will be replaced in his role as chief human resources officer by Pamela Roach. She most recently worked for Climate Solutions, an operating segment of Regal Rexnord, where she served as vice president of human resources.

Justin Benavidez .jpegJustin Benavidez, Majority Staff House Ag Committee

Justin Benavidez is the new chief economist for the majority staff on the House Ag Committee. He previously worked at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension as an assistant professor and district economist. He was with the extension office for almost 8 years.

DNO Produce has elevated three associates to leadership roles with the organization. Deadra Barnett has been promoted to director of food safety. She joined the DNO team in 2017 and previously was the food safety manager. Nick Middleton has been appointed as the new director of procurement. He previously was the director of wholesale sales. Doug Snyder will assume the role of director of warehousing and logistics. He joined DNO in 2021.

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The Dairy Business Association and Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative have brought on Andrea Fencl as a communications specialist. She most recently held the same role for Faith Technologies Inc.

Randy Day has announced his intent to retire as Perdue Farms CEO this summer. He has worked at Perdue for more than 40 years and served as CEO since 2017. Day will remain on staff to transition the role to Kevin McAdams, who currently serves as the COO and president.

Chris Corry has been named the new director of the Center for Government Reform at the Washington Policy Center. Corry currently serves as a Washington state representative and has more than 18 years of experience in the insurance industry and risk management. Corry will continue to serve as a state representative in his community and will divide his time with Washington Policy Center. His first day at WPC is May 1.

Jay Vroom has been added to the board of advisers for Stratovation Group. Vroom currently serves as a consultant and previously was the president and CEO of CropLife America.

Cole Staudt has left the American Farm Bureau Federation, where he was the executive communications manager for the last two years. He has taken on a new role outside of the agriculture industry as the external affairs manager for T-Mobile.

USDA has selected new American Egg Board members and alternates along with a new executive committee. Selected as chair of the board is Alex Simpson. He replaces Mindy Truex, who is now the immediate past chair. Andy Seger was tapped as the new vice chair, Clint Hickman as secretary, and Sandra Lausecker as treasurer. Sam Krouse and Ross Dean are the new members-at-large. The newly elected members include Jessica Hanslik, Mississippi; Clint Hickman, Arizona; Mitch Knapke, Ohio; Pat Melena, Nebraska; John Puglisi, New Jersey; Mark Sauder, Pennsylvania; John Watson III, North Carolina; Alex Weaver, Ohio; and Tim Zweering, Michigan.

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